April 30, 2012
I changed our sheets on the bed and put them into the washer and then the dryer. However when I took them out of the dryer the fitted sheet was missing. Being bigger than a sock I knew it couldn’t walk away by itself. I finally discovered that rather than taking the old sheet off the bed I absent mindedly put the clean fitted sheet over the dirty one. As new believers many of us tried to do something similar. Rather than getting rid of the old sinful nature we thought we could simply cover it over with the new self. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:22-24 NIV)
April 27, 2012
A person in our community is basking in the light of his new leadership role and he says he tries not to think about his new title. “The title didn’t change who I am, for I am no different today than I was two weeks ago.” Rats! I was hoping for a little bit of change, including a change of heart. “By their fruit you will recognize them…Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit…Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matt 7:16a, 17, 20 NIV)
April 26, 2012
I really don’t like fund raisers that ask you to make a pledge, because it’s always in the back of my mind that some emergency might come up where I couldn’t fulfill my obligation. I have to laugh at Paul’s method of collecting on a pledge from the Corinthians. He expected them to honor the pledge…but how the gift was labeled would be entirely up to the Corinthians. “So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.” (2 Cor 9:5 NIV)
April 25, 2012
Although Charlie belongs to my daughter, he is somewhat of a family dog so I occasionally take him for walks. When Charlie gets to pick the path we take, he often chooses to go past one particular house where a black lab in a fenced yard lives. As each dog sizes up the other I can’t help but wonder if they might envy the other’s freedom. One dog is free to roam in the confines of the yard, the other is free to go as far and as wide as the leash allows…and yet both lay claim to their own territory. “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” (Psalms 119:45 NIV)
April 24, 2012
Last Saturday I spoke about the Fruit of the Spirit at a Women’s Tea and I used the pomegranate as an illustration of a fruit with multiple characteristics. In doing research on the pomegranate I was surprised to learn that each fruit contains exactly 840 seeds. I immediately had two questions, ‘Who would even think to count all those seeds and how many did they have to count to know that each and every one contained exactly 840 seeds.’ I can only imagine the joy God has watching us explore His creation. “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so.” (Genesis 1:11 NIV)
April 23, 2012
Reflecting on the last four years on City Council I realize that along with making a lot of new friends I’ve also made some enemies. No one intentionally sets out to make enemies, but we believers should be reminding one another that there is a price to pay even if you accidentally make an enemy. “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44 NIV)
April 20, 2012
As I wind down my term on City Council I have literally deleted thousands of emails that have accumulated over the last four years. The in-box and the sent-box are now empty, as well as all the folders. I had kept many of those emails because they were a paper trail of sorts and some of them were positive and others negative. However, the computer screen is now wiped clean and I can no longer remember what was written or said. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” (Acts 3:19-20 NIV)
April 19, 2012
My husband is a member of the DAV Memorial Honor Guard and this voluntary group of old timers aren’t always in sync when it comes to giving a 21 Gun Salute. Every once in awhile a member will get trigger happy and pull the trigger prematurely, or the opposite can happen. The signal from the ear to the brain to the finger is slow to respond and a round goes off late. Actually there are times when the salute is only a 15 Gun Salute because some member wasn’t on time, or they forgot to show up at all. Thankfully those at the memorial service aren’t able to count the total number of shots that go off. I have to laugh when I think about how many misfires the Israelites may have had when they marched around Jericho. “The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. But Joshua had commanded the people, ‘Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!’” (Joshua 6:9-10 NIV)
April 18, 2012
When someone goes on the attack after our child, our parent or our spouse the gloves come off and we rush to the rescue. We won’t let anyone say something bad about our loved ones without responding. And yet, how often do we hear people in all walks of life go after our Heavenly Father without coming to His defense. Certainly we know that God can take care of Himself, but defending Him is part of our family relationship.
April 17, 2012
Two of my political colleagues speak freely and publically about their relationship with the Lord and it’s not unusual to hear criticism of their witness in letters to the editor, on the gossip circuit and behind their backs. Fellow believers often resist running to their defense because they themselves don’t want to become community targets. Jesus however offers support and encouragement. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt 5:11-12 NIV)
April 16, 2012
Some areas are just prone to natural disasters and when I hear of devastation the first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘Thank God where I live is not like other areas.’ That phrase has a familiar Pharisaical ring to it, “…God, I thank you that I am not like other men…” (Luke 18:11b NIV) Whether it’s the weather or one’s righteousness, it’s seems so easy to slip into comparing ourselves with others.
April 13, 2012
In trying to connect with the youth in the community we instituted a Youth Council for teens that is patterned after the City Council. One of their projects was putting on a job fair for teens, and for a first annual event I was really impressed with their efforts and the organizations that participated. However, I was unimpressed with the US military representation. Their booths were set up, brochures were displayed, but all the personnel were standing around talking to one another. I went past their tables twice, but no one even made eye contact with me. When I finally forced myself into their conversation I told an Army sergeant I was disappointed they weren’t engaging the students. Her excuse was, “Well Ma’am, I’ve been talking to two new recruits who are signed up and will be going to basic training as soon as they graduate in May.” As a believer I think I have a tendency to do something similar when it comes to spreading the gospel. I gravitate to groups of seasoned believers or try to reach out to those who are new recruits and babes in Christ…all the while the unsaved may be walking by and I don’t even so much as make eye contact with them.
April 12, 2012
I’m working on a presentation for a women’s tea and the requested topic is the Fruit of the Spirit. Over the years I’ve attended many talks on the Fruit of the Spirit, but it just dawned on me that it’s always been the topic for women’s groups. I don’t think I’ve heard of a men’s retreat featuring a keynote address on the Fruit of the Spirit. You have to admit that the Fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – really doesn’t have that dragon slayer feel to it. I’m wondering how Paul’s masculine audience reacted to his teaching…I think I’m sort of glad my audience will be women. (Gal 5:22-23 NIV)
April 11, 2012
While serving on City Council the biggest policy decision to be made is approving the budget. The elected body ultimately determines how and where taxpayer funds will be spent. In essence the City Council is spending money that is not their own and it is their obligation to administer it properly. As believers I’m not sure we realize what a huge responsibility it is to administer the assets of others. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (I Peter 4:10 NIV)
April 10, 2012
In a recent letter-to-the-editor a writer said, “I believe that God takes a neutral position in all competitions….that God only takes sides when the issues involve good and evil.” Really? I have to laugh at the thought of keeping God confined to only issues involving good and evil. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
April 09, 2012
Recently one of my colleagues was publically scorned and she made the observation that believers don’t often take a stand on issues because they are afraid of being mocked. “If you can't withstand a little mockery during these days, how will you stand strong later?” She makes a great point. Jesus, in predicting his own death told his disciples, “He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him.” (Luke 18:32 NIV)
April 06, 2012
In the past our local newspaper seemed to be pretty relaxed in the publication of anonymous comments on their web site. I always assumed because the comments were allowed that the readership liked the dissention and angst. When the paper tightened up their blog guidelines, those wanting to vent had to look for other venues to get their message out. A local community group appeared to be trying to fill the void and sent an email to all their subscribers that they would be open for ‘lively discussion’. I had to laugh when the first person to spew on the site brought a flood of people asking to be removed from the distribution list. It’s refreshing to know that the majority of people in the community do not want to engage in, or read trash talk. “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” (Proverbs 4:14-15 NIV)
April 05, 2012
Most of us can look back over many years of service to our church, our community and our country. My four years on City Council are coming to an end and although I am weary and looking for a time of rest, I confidently lay claim to Jesus’ words in the Parable of the Talents, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Well, I was confident until I let the complete verse register in my mind, “…Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things…” (Matt 25:23 NIV) Now I’m getting nervous. Exactly what does it mean to be put in charge of many things?
April 04, 2012
Yesterday we had City Council elections and I lost my bid for re-election. Certainly I’m disappointed, but I trust the Lord has me where He wants me for this moment in time, so all is good. Actually my husband, friends and family are looking forward to having me back. I do think one of my biggest regrets will be the loss of great fodder for my blog.
April 03, 2012
At a retreat I attended with 20 others one participant bemoaned that his opinions are often ignored because he’s the ‘old man of the group’. By the second day it became obvious that age was not the culprit. My talkative colleague dominated all the discussions by giving lengthy opinions on every agenda item. As I consider Paul’s guidelines for orderly worship, I’m wondering if his thoughts were more than just wanting to avoid confusion. I think it’s possible he also saw the need to keep one speaker from dominating discussions. “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” (1Cor 14:29-31 NIV)
April 02, 2012
This last weekend my mom, who is almost 88 years and in a nursing home, had a heart problem and was given the opportunity to choose life or death. Her choice was to have a pacemaker installed or, as the doctor said, “let nature take its course”. Mom has been an unhappy nursing home resident for over four years, so I find it interesting that she opted for the pacemaker. Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:21-24 NIV) When mom is feeling better I can hardly wait to remind her that she chose fruitful labor over being with Christ.